Teachers have been teaching the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), which focuses on the sound, as part of the ‘Learning to Learn’ philosophy.
Through learning the IPA, students are not only able to learn the pronunciation of words but also to teach themselves new words by looking them up in the dictionary. This way, children can see the correct spelling, the phonetic transcriptions for pronunciation and the meaning.
Many students in Hong Kong may have learnt phonics, which is letter combinations associated with the sounds. However, there are many exceptions to the rules, which make it difficult for young second language learners to remember, as they have to learn both the rules and the exceptions.
At the beginning of the 2002 school year, our school introduced the International Phonetic Alphabet as part of the English language curriculum. It has now become a permanent part of the curriculum. Students are able to make use of the IPA as a learning tool in their studies.
In order to let students acquire a good knowledge of the IPA, we developed online videos, and we wrote a book published by Longman Hong Kong Education.